Josh Simmons Ohio State San Diego State Buckeyes Transfer

Closer Look: Josh Simmons Brings Experience, Athleticism To Offensive Line

There may have been a point in his life when Josh Simmons thought that he was going to be a Michigan Wolverine. The recruiting process can be a long and winding road, however, and the eventual destination isn’t always known all that long in advance. Simmons was originally committed to Oregon in the Ducks’ 2021 recruiting class, but decommitted the same day (March 31, 2020) he received an offer from Michigan.

That was an eye-opening spring for Simmons, who landed offers from the Wolverines, Penn State, Miami, Georgia, Oklahoma, Utah, and more. Despite those offers, he signed with San Diego State and head coach Brady Hoke. He was ranked the No. 25 interior line prospect in the class, and the No. 342 player overall.

Simmons redshirted as a true freshman in 2021, but then started all 13 games for the Aztecs as a redshirt freshman right tackle in 2022. Following the season, he entered the transfer portal. The Buckeyes got involved and Simmons eventually transferred to Ohio State following spring practice.

What To Like

Josh Simmons has tackle size at 6-foot-6 and 305 pounds, but more importantly he has tackle feet. He moves well and seems to do okay against speed rushers who are simply trying to get around him. Despite being a young lineman, he also handled bullrushers fairly well.

Simmons’ mobility also allows him to get outside on wide runs, or even pull to the opposite side. He is also able to get into the second level and find some work against linebackers.

The clips below are from his very first start last year, which was a 38-20 loss at home to Arizona. They come from a shortened highlight version of the game, so these clips are not highlights or lowlights, they’re simply what happened.

The Potential

A year of being a starter is huge for a player coming to Ohio State to compete for an open position. Josh Simmons has a ton of film to work off of and see where he needs to improve. As a redshirt freshman last year, Simmons was able to get to spots and get his hands on defenders, but he didn’t necessarily keep his hands on defenders.

Expect a more powerful and explosive blocker this year. Simmons needs to grow as a finisher, which should happen this year. A player is never going to be his strongest as a redshirt freshman, so the added strength and technique should be put to very good use this season.

The clips below are from his third start of the season, and again, it’s just a shortened version of the game. He more than holds his own against Utah, however.

The Expectations

The moment Josh Simmons enrolled at Ohio State, he became the most experienced offensive tackle on the team. The Buckeyes feel pretty good about fourth-year junior Josh Fryar at left tackle, but Simmons will now likely be part of a three-man battle at right tackle with redshirt freshman Tegra Tshabola and redshirt sophomore Zen Michalski. How long it stays a three-man race in camp remains to be seen. Perhaps offensive line coach Justin Frye will already move somebody before camp even starts.

Many see Simmons as the favorite to be the starting right tackle for the Buckeyes this year. The fact that they went into the portal looking for a tackle lets you know that they had some concern. With 20+ practices in fall camp, both Michalski and Tshabola are going to grow and get better. One of them may absolutely still win the job, and adding another competitor to the mix not only increases the options, but it also demands that the competitors get better.

The game below is from Simmons’ fifth start. The clips contain nearly every snap from the first half. Again, he definitely holds his own.

The Bottom Line

it is pretty likely that Josh Simmons will factor heavily into Ohio State’s plans this season. Even if he doesn’t win a starting job, there are roles for a sixth lineman that would see him on the field every single game.

In order for him to win the starting right tackle job this year, not only will he have to do what he did last year, but he’ll also need to finish better. Sustaining blocks — and even making the shorter ones count for more — are key for what Ohio State wants to do down the field or with certain run packages. Experience is nice, but it takes more than that to get the job done.

Another question to ask is something that Justin Frye was asked about Josh Fryar back in the winter — if Josh Simmons is your best tackle, shouldn’t he get a look at left tackle too? Frye indicated following spring ball that everybody will get a look on both the left and right side, so there could be more movement in camp. With the mobility that Simmons shows on the right side, playing on the left side sure doesn’t seem like a non-starter.

In the game below, this is the eighth start of the year for Simmons. He is more physical in this game than he was against Boise State. That physicality got him into a little bit of trouble with a personal foul late in the first half, which then led to a false start on the next play. He composed himself in the second half, however, and responded like a veteran.

Previous Closer Look editions

Quarterback Lincoln Kienholz | Wide Receiver Carnell Tate | Wide Receiver Brandon Inniss | Wide Receiver Noah Rogers Tight End Jelani Thurman | Offensive Lineman Vic Cutler | Offensive Lineman Luke Montgomery | Offensive Lineman Joshua Padilla | Defensive End Joshua Mickens | Defensive Tackle Kayden McDonald Defensive Tackle Jason Moore | Cornerback Jermaine Mathews, Jr. | Cornerback Calvin Simpson-Hunt | Cornerback Davison Igbinosun | Safety Ja’Had Carter | Safety Jayden Bonsu

[Josh Simmons header photo courtesy of the San Diego Union Tribune]

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